Building Trust in Climate Science: Data Products for the 21st Century
Richard Chandler1, Peter Thorne2, Jay Lawrimore2, Peter Stott3, Kate Willett3
1Department of Statistical Science, University College London, United Kingdom; 2NOAA National Climatic Data Center, Asheville, United States; 3Met Office Hadley Centre, Exeter, United Kingdom

Climate change is one of the most fundamental challenges facing humanity today. As such, climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies form a core part of the political and social landscape both nationally and internationally. Climate science has a key role to play in informing such strategies. However, given the magnitude of the issues involved and their implications, it is imperative that the scientific process is - and is seen to be - rigorous, defensible and transparent so as to ensure trust in the results. A key element in building such trust is to provide access to underlying data, so that interested parties can check published results and compare with their own analyses. A further priority is provide data at space and time scales that are relevant for user needs.

Against this background, a meeting was held at the UK Met Office in September 2010 with a view to establishing an open access global data bank of land surface temperatures and associated climate products that have been subject to rigorous assessment procedures. The meeting was attended by climate scientists, measurement scientists, statisticians, economists and software/IT specialists, and initiated a multi-year project that will harness expertise from all of these disciplines (see A first step is to create, for the first time, a single comprehensive global databank of actual surface meteorological observations at monthly, daily and sub-daily resolutions. The databank effort will be run internationally and for the benefit of all.

This talk will describe the early plans for the project. Topics covered will include ideas for ascertaining data provenance and providing access to metadata; novel approaches to data recovery; use of the databank to create data products that more directly meet the needs of users; efforts to validate and benchmark such products; and general issues of governance and transparency.

Keywords: Transparency; Trust; Climate change

Biography: Dr Richard Chandler is a senior lecturer with the Department of Statistical Science, UCL, London, UK.